Softball games to benefit charities

WINDER - There's a feeling of rivalry lately between two local law enforcement agencies.

Winder Police Department and Barrow County Sheriff's Office, which normally operate with a spirit of cooperation, have recently developed a sense of competition. Sheriff's deputies have even resorted to spying on Winder police officers in training, Winder Lt. John Blocker said.

At stake is a 4-foot-tall trophy donated by The Business Center in Winder and both agencies intend to win it.

While baseball season winds closer to divisional playoffs, deputies and police officers are practicing for their own championship.

Winder police officers and Barrow County Sheriff's deputies will play the first annual Charity Softball Tournament on Saturday at the YMCA softball field next to Brad Akins Ford.

All proceeds raised will be donated to each team's favorite charity. Winder will help fund the annual Shop With a Cop, in which a Winder police officer takes a disadvantaged child shopping at Christmas time. Sheriff's deputies will donate their money to a child who is experiencing unfortunate life-altering events, said Coach Chief Deputy Maj. Murray Kogod .

Two home run derbies will be open to the public at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. while the softball players rest up between games. Home run derby winners will take home two roundtrip airplane tickets to anywhere AirTran flies in the U.S.

The sheriff's department will raffle off a new .40 caliber Beretta Storm handgun donated by Dixie Ammo Dump, while Winder police present will raffle a Mizuno softball bat and a baseball signed by John Smoltz.

Winder police officers have practiced for about two months with 12 players. One of their star players, Judd Smith, played collegiate baseball at both Middle Georgia College and Columbus State University.

"He played pitcher, but we need him in the outfield because he can catch pop-ups," Blocker said.

Sheriff's deputies are working with about 30 players, Kogod said.

Winder police officers are confident they can give Sheriff's deputies a tough game.

"We don't have a lot of speed, but we have a lot of meat," said Lt. Dennis Dorsey.

SideBar: If You Go

' What: Softball games between Winder Police officers and Barrow County Sheriff's deputies

' When: 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. home run derbies

' Where: Brad Akins YMCA softball field, 50 Brad Akins Drive, Winder

' Cost: $3 per person entry fee; $20 buys 10 pitches in the home run derby open to the public